Tactics in Ohio DUI Cases
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So exactly what can I do for you when I say that there are quite a few defense tactics?
Let me show you what I mean through some actual examples:
I had a case where my client (let's call him Tom) had been stopped by a police officer fairly late at night in a residential neighborhood. Because of the way in which the police stopped, tested Tom for Drink Driving, and arrested him, I filed several motions. I challenged the stop, roadside test, and arrest. I filed a motion to suppress the preliminary screening test, a motion to suppress statements and a motion to suppress the field sobriety tests.
I also filed a motion to suppress all the evidence.
At the suppression hearing for consideration of my motions, the police officer admitted during questioning by the prosecutor that "I didn't know if he (Tom) had committed a crime, was about to commit a crime or what the circumstances were."
After stopping Tom he approached my client's car and testified that "I did notice an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming on his breath..."
But I doubted the stop was even legal to begin with.
So, during my questioning of the officer I first determined that Tom was going below the legal speed limit.
And then it went on as follows:
Q. Okay, but his speed was not a violation of any statute?
Q. Okay, and after the time you pulled up behind him, there wasn't any criminal activity that you suspected, correct?
Q. What did you suspect?
Q. Okay, so you did not suspect any criminal activity at that time?
Q. You did know there was criminal activity?
Q. That there could have been?
Q. Okay, but the only thing you observed was his slow speed?
In essence, I got the officer to tell me that he was strictly working on a hunch.
This left the DA with no case, and at the next hearing the case was dropped entirely.
That was pretty interesting, wasn't it?
Let me give you another example.
No Proof of Driving
This one involves my client I'll call him Frank.
Frank was involved in a one-car accident where he hit a guardrail. Frank then traveled approximately 10 miles to a local diner and sat down to get something to eat. After being in the diner for approximately 10 minutes, he was approached by a police officer that questioned Frank about the damage to his vehicle. The officer also noted in his subsequent report an odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from Frank’s person.
The officer asked Frank if he had been drinking and if that was Frank’s car outside. Unfortunately, Frank did not know any better and answered these questions. Frank told the officer that yes he had a few beers and that was his car and he was involved in a one-car accident a ways back. The officer then performed Field Sobriety Tests and Frank allegedly failed.
The officer then placed Frank under arrest for DUI. At the preliminary hearing the officer could not state that he saw Frank drive nor could he state what Frank’s Blood Alcohol Level was at the time of driving. Based on this information alone this was not enough to hold Frank over to court and the charges were dismissed.
Not Over the Limit at Time of Driving
Another example concerns a client who traveled the wrong way on one way street for a few yards. We will call him Sam. Sam was not from the area and was driving home a friend who was too drunk to drive.
Sam made a turn while in an urban area that does not have clearly defined signs for traffic. Sam made his turn the wrong way down a one-way street and then backed up after realizing his error. An officer on duty who witnessed Sam’s driving stopped him.
After smelling alcohol emanating from the car the officer asked Sam to perform Field Sobriety Tests that Sam of coursed failed. Sam was then taken for a blood test and his results an hour after the stop were .11 BAC.
At the preliminary hearing the officer admitted that Sam more or less passed the Field Sobriety Tests. The officer also testified that he did not test or ask the passenger in Sam’s vehicle about consumption of alcohol.
Unfortunately, the District Justice who heard the case is not known for dismissing charges even when it is clear to anyone that the individual should not be held for court. Therefore, Sam had to prepare for trial.
As part of our trial preparation we hired and toxicologist to testify that Sam’s BAC at the time of driving was under the BAC of .10. The district attorney once presented with this defense agreed to lower the charges to a summary offense of Disorderly Conduct and $100.00 fine.
I recently won a trial in Columbus for an individual accused of Drunk Driving after leaving a bar. He was told to leave the bar by a security officer, who then followed him and called the police. The security officer followed him for about 20 minutes and eventually our client was stopped by a State Trooper. The Trooper testified that there was a moderate then strong odor of alcohol beverage emanating from our client's person. Our client was then asked to perform a Walk and Turn test which he performed satisfactory. He was then taken to the hospital for a blood test which he refused.
At trial both the Trooper testified and the security officer testified. The security officer had many inconsistencies in his testimony. After the close of the Commonwealth's case we made a motion for judgment of acquittal, which after argument the judge granted and dismissed the DUI charge.
Another case that we resolved with a plea to a summary offense of Disorderly Conduct was a check point case. Our client had consumed 2 glasses of wine over a period of 1 hour. He was then stopped at a check point approximately 20 minutes after he his last drink. He was given Field Sobriety Tests which of Course he failed and was brought to the police station and he gave a breath sample of .12 one hour after the check point stop. Our office retained the services of a forensic Scientist who testified that at the time of driving our client's BAC was below .10 and thus he was not in his opinion under the influence of alcohol. The Judge agreed and the Officer withdrew the Charge of DUI and agreed to the summary dispositions.
Could the same be true for you? That depends, the circumstances vary for each Ohio DUI case. Call now for your free consultation 614-487-8667, I will explore all these types of possibilities with you.
The lesson to be learned from these examples is that a case--your case--may be able to be defended by one or more challenges to the charges you are facing.
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